clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Look At MAC Football Coaching Salaries: Does More Money Translate Into More Success?

Just how much is your team spending on its football staff? We broke down the numbers to find out.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.


college football is a big-money business. With coaching changes abound, and head coaches signing new monster deals left and right, USA Today updated its football coaches salary database last week to include data for the 2013 season. The database includes salary information for most head coaches and assistant coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision. It's important to note that there are some significant schools missing from this database, as the FOIA doesn't require private schools such as Notre Dame or Stanford to report salary information.

But, being that the Mid-American Conference is made up of 13 public universities we can see all the juicy numbers we need. I took the liberty of digging into the information and pulling out the MAC numbers for you to digest, and things are got interesting.

MAC Head Coach Salaries (2013)
Coach Total Pay MAX Total Pay With Bonuses
Frank Solich (Ohio) $513,900 $813,250
Matt Campbell (Toledo) $457,500 $857,500
Charley Molnar (UMass) $418,930 $581,430
Dave Clawson (Bowling Green) $401,000 $510,000
Don Treadwell (Miami) $400,000 $793,660
Terry Bowden (Akron) $400,000 $605,000
Pete Lembo (Ball State) $399,000 $664,000
P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan) $392,500 $628,500
Paul Haynes (Kent State) $382,500 $643,500
Roderick Carey (Northern Illinois) $376,000 $581,000
Ron English (Eastern Michigan) $374,937 $464,937
Dan Enos (Central Michigan) $360,600 $584,600
Jeff Quinn (Buffalo) $325,000 $660,000

A quick look at the MAC head coaching salaries reveals some interesting things about the conference. Most notably that Frank Solich remains the highest paid coach in the conference, even after Matt Campbell's contract upgrade earlier this season. But what may come as some shock to the casual MAC fan is that Charley Molnar is No. 3, while Jeff Quinn is dead last on this list. In fact, if you look at the list of coaches total salaries, pre bonuses, it's clear that being paid more doesn't always mean the coach is better. Not that anyone really believed that anyway. But, a very interesting thing to note here is that P.J. Fleck and Rod Carey are both first year head coaches, yet Carey, who managed to win 11 more games than Fleck, made $16,500 less for the 2013 season.

Assistant Coaching Staff Salaries
Team Staff Salary Highest Paid Assistant
Akron $886,000 Chuck Amato, defensive coordinator ($196,000)
Ohio $852,797 Jimmy Burrow, defensive coordinator & Tim Albin, offensive coordinator ($126,333 each)
Northern Illinois $849,030 Jay Niemann, defensive coordinator ($160,002)
Ball State $842,870 Rich Skrosky, offensive coordinator ($128,500)
Miami $835,350 John Klacik, offensive coordinator ($137,700)
Bowling Green $826,600 Warren Ruggiero, offensive coordinator ($133,000)
Buffalo $825,000 Lou Tepper, defensive coordinator & Alex Wood, offensive coordinator ($130,000 each)
Central Michigan $817,206 Joe Tumpkin, defensive coordinator ($132,197)
Western Michigan $797,500 Kirk Ciarrocca, offensive coordinator & Ed Pinkham, defensive coordinator ($140,000 each)
UMass $772,700 Phil Elmassian, defensive coordinator ($168,394)
Toledo $754,750 Louis Ayeni, assoc. head coach  & Jason Candle, offensive coordinator  ($115,450)
Eastern Michigan $691,000 Stan Parrish, offensive coordinator/interim head coach ($121,963)
Kent State $691,000 Brian Rock, offensive coordinator ($137,600)

Things get even more interesting when you break down assistant coaches' salaries. Despite having the lowest head coaching salary, Buffalo actually pays its assistants pretty well. Toledo, which pays Matt Campbell the second highest base salary, and with bonuses he'd be the highest paid head coach in the MAC by a mile, is actually near the bottom in assistant coaches salaries. Once again though, it's hard to correlate salaries of assistants with salaries of success in the MAC.

But there is something very interesting going on in these numbers. In a conference known for having high-powered offenses, it's the defensive coordinators who are actually valued higher. Of the 13 MAC teams, only five have an offensive coordinator as their highest paid assistant coach. The four highest paid assistant coaches in the conference are all defensive coordinators (including the coordinator for a UMass defense that allowed 33 points-per-game this year).

The average salary for a MAC defensive coordinator is $45,884 more than that of a MAC offensive coordinator. This number is slightly skewed by the fact that Ron English served as his own defensive coordinator this season (before being fired). But even so, if you cut English's salary in half—one half for his head coaching duties, one half for his defensive coordinator duties—it comes out to $187,468 which is less than the highest paid defensive coordinator in the MAC, Akron's Chuck Amato. That would bring the average salary for a defensive coordinator in the MAC to $153,145 which is still $31,463 more than the average offensive coordinator.

The highest paid offensive coordinator in the MAC in 2013 was Western Michigan's Kirk Ciarrocca who made $140,000, or $56,000 less than the highest paid defensive coordinator (Amato). WMU's offense was among the worst in the nation this season. The next two highest paid offensive coordinators were former Miami OC John Klacik (who was canned after engineering one of worst offenses in the nation) and Kent State's Brian Rock (the Golden Flashes were seventh in the conference in total offense).

The lowest paid assistant coach in the MAC is EMU special teams coordinator Ryan Oshnock, who hauled in $52,195 in 2013.

Most Expensive Staffs/Win
Team Staff Salary Cost Per Win
Miami $835,350
Western Michigan $797,500 $797,500
UMass $772,700 $772,700
Eastern Michigan $729,276 $364,638
Akron $886,000 $177,200
Kent State $691,000 $172,750
Central Michigan $817,206 $136,201
Ohio $852,797 $121,828
Toledo $754,750 $107,821
Buffalo $825,000 $103,125
Ball State $842,870 $84,287
Bowling Green $826,600 $82,660
Northern Illinois $849,030 $70,752

If you try to correlate the cost of a staff with wins Northern Illinois, which has the third highest total salary, has the best cost-per-win at $70,752. Bowling Green had a bargain of a staff as well paying $82,660 for a win this season. Those numbers are disturbing for fans from the bottom half of the MAC. Miami had the fifth highest paid staff in the conference, but finished with zero wins. WMU and UMass spent more than $770,000 a piece for their one-win-seasons.

Some other fun facts to take away from the database:

  • The cumulative total of MAC assistant coaches salaries comes out to about $4.8 million. That's $400,000 more than Alabama's assistant coaches make. (Pointed out by contributor Alex's roommate, @FrankAnderson4).
  • 39 assistant coaches make more than Buffalo's entire assistant coaching staff. 99 assistants make more than Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn.
  • Among teams that reported salary information, only New Mexico State (Ind.) and UTEP (C-USA) spend less on their football staff salaries than Kent State does. The Golden Flashes won the MAC East in 2012 and had to rebuild a staff after Darrell Hazell left for Purdue.
  • Among the four non-power conferences the MAC spends the least amount on assistant football coaches. The Mountain West leads the way with an average total staff salary of $1,337,986. Conference-USA averages just over $1 million per staff. The Sun Belt Conference averages $885,530 per staff, or nearly $80 thousand more than the MAC averages.
UPDATE: The staff salaries originally included in this article were incorrect, and the result of bad math. The information has been updated to reflect the correct numbers.